UNBEATEN ITALY CRUSH THAILAND 3-0
Osaka, Japan, October 8, 2018 – Italy blew away Thailand 3-0 in the last match of the second day of Pool F action at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on Monday evening. The Thais had no answer to the speed, power and precision of Italy and were spiked to a standstill as they received an uncharacteristically heavy beating by 25-15, 25-12, 25-15 in 68 minutes. With this highly impressive victory, Italy improved their win-loss record to a perfect 7-0 while Thailand dropped to 3-4 after a second consecutive defeat in Osaka.
Paola Egonu led Italy’s scoring with 15 points, captain Cristina Chirichella added 12 and Anna Danesi scored 11, with three blocks.
Sittirak Onuma (13) and Apinyapong Wilavan (7) contributed 20 points between them on a night when little went right for the tiring Thais against a fiercely determined Italy.
Thailand’s tactics from the start appeared to revolve solely around Onuma, who attacked all across the front line with her customary vigour and speed to try and unsettle the Italian defence. Wilavan, too, pierced the formidable blue defence on a regular basis.
Miryam Sylla and Paolo Egonu carried the attack and Italy’s lead increased to four at the second TTO, having dampened the Thais’ early fire and fury.
In a battle between the two captains, Cristina Chirichella got the better of Pleumjit Thinkaow with a block point and the Italians romped to the first set 25-15 in only 23 minutes.
In the second set, Egonu and Pleumjit traded fierce spikes down the middle and Elena Pietrini attacked spectacularly from the left flank to keep Italy moving forward. Anna Danesi followed up as Italy were in a hurry to finish this and endure no five-set drama which had befallen both Russia and the United States in the first round.
The Thais couldn’t live with the unrelenting pace and movement of Italy and Egonu blasted them into the second TTO with a comfortable cushion, 16-7. Pietrini resumed with a jump serve ace against the dazed Thai defence and the south-east Asians were forced into a TO down 19-8 and with a mountain to climb to stay in the set, never mind the match. Chirichella made sure there would be no let-up as Italy took the second set 25-12 with Lucia Bosetti in command on the left.
In the third set, setter Guedpard Pornpun lifted Thai spirits with a swifty spike at the net and Onuma, on the left, found a second wind to blaze past two Italian blockers, but Italy pulled away again to 16-12 at the second TTO.
The unstoppable Danesi fired across the Thai block from Italy’s right and then notched a block point as Italy moved into the 20s before closing out the match 25-15.
Captain Cristina Chirichella: Today we played really good, especially in block defence. It was really important because the Thai game is so fast so we have done a great job on defence. This result was really important for us to qualify for the next round. The trip is already long so for now it is a good result. We know about the last results for Thailand (against USA and Russia) and we know Thailand was strong and at the same time play a great game, so we were so concentrated about particular things. We have done the best we can.
Coach Davide Mazzanti: I am very content with the result. It was really important regards qualifying for the final six. We know how well Thailand played against Russia, USA and China but we were able to play in a smooth style to get the 3-0. (On Lucia Bosetti fainting during the game and being carried off for treatment before returning): She has high blood pressure and sometimes this happens, but after some rest she can recover.
Captain Pleumjit Thinkaow: It was a really difficult match. Italy is a strong team and we could not cope with the ball speed. Every team we have played has a different style and we have learned a lot from all teams.
Coach Danai Sriwachamaytakul: The Italian block and defence is very strong so this made it a hard match for us. Unfortunately we could not play our own style. We did not get used to the power of Italy.
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